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Novo Nordisk Q4'16 profit increases; 16B kroner share buyback initiated

Novo Nordisk A/S reported 2016 diluted EPS of 14.96 Danish kroner, up 11% from 13.52 kroner in the previous year.

The company saw a 9% increase in 2016 net profit to 37.93 billion kroner, compared to 34.86 billion kroner in 2015.

For the fourth quarter of 2016, the company booked net profit of 8.70 billion kroner, or 3.46 kroner per share, a 5% increase from 8.26 billion kroner, or 3.24 kroner per share, from the year-ago period.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the quarter was 3.55 kroner.

Novo Nordisk saw fourth-quarter 2016 net sales of 29.57 billion kroner, a 2% increase from 28.88 billion kroner during the same period in 2015. Diabetes and obesity care segment sales grew 4%, to 23.83 billion kroner in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 22.94 billion kroner the year before.

The board will propose a final dividend of 4.60 kroner for 2016 per share of 20 øre. The expected total dividend for 2016 is 7.60 kroner per share, a 19% increase compared to 6.40 kroner per share in 2015.

Novo Nordisk had six product recalls in 2016: Two for inappropriate product storage in the external distribution chain and four for not fully meeting specifications. One of the recalls was critical, compared with two in 2015.

The company expects sales for 2017 to range from a decline of 1% to a growth of 4%, in local currencies.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for 2017 is 15.88 kroner.

The company's board approved a 2017 share repurchase program of up to 16 billion kroner, for execution in the coming 12 months. The buyback size may be reduced if "significant in-licensing or bolt-on acquisition opportunities arise" in 2017, the company said. Under this program, a share repurchase program for up to 4 billion kronor was initiated, with Nordea Bank AB subsidiary Nordea Danmark as lead manager.

As of Feb. 1, US$1 was equivalent to 6.91 Danish kroner.